Two elite lightweights will look to settle the score on July 10th. Former interim titleholder Dustin Poirier hopes to make it two straight against former multi-weight champ Conor McGregor after their UFC 257 encounter. This tops off a card of stacked contenders fighting for the chance at breaking into superstardom. Amongst them is a pair of former welterweight title challengers in Gilbert Burns and Stephen Thompson, who will duke it out for another title opportunity.
Let’s take a closer look at this card!
(#1) Dustin Poirier (26-5, 1 NC) vs (#5) Conor McGregor (22-5) – lightweight bout
155lb rivals Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor will settle the score in a 5-round main event, set to deliver on all cylinders.
Having gotten revenge for his 2014 loss to McGregor, Dustin Poirier is riding into UFC 264 with all the momentum in the world. His fluid boxing has made him the undeniable number 1 contender at lightweight. His technique, coupled with undeniable heart, is what has led him to one of the most universally envied resumes in the sport. Now, before a potential matchup with champion Charles Oliveira, ‘The Diamond‘ is hoping to secure a second victory over McGregor.
Seeking a comeback from his shocking KO loss earlier this year, Conor McGregor is betting heavy on himself. Ireland’s fighting pride is confident that he has corrected the mistakes he made in his second outing with Poirier. Seemingly dead set on a violent stoppage, fans have seen McGregor grafting hard in the gym. With lightning-quick hands and KO power, ‘The Notorious‘ will always be a problem for whoever he steps into the Octagon with.
(#2) Gilbert Burns vs (#4) Stephen Thompson – welterweight bout
Top welterweight contenders Gilbert Burns and Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson will look to add another W to their respective records when they fight in the co-headliner.
Riding into a title shot on a hot win-streak, including the likes of Demian Maia and Tyron Woodley, it seemed like Gilbert Burns was going to set the welterweight division on fire. Despite coming up short in his title bid against Kamaru Usman, he brought the fight to the champ early on, and expects to do more in a potential rematch. To get that fight, ‘Durinho‘ will have to use his patented BJJ game this weekend.
A perennial contender since 2016, Stephen Thompson has once entered himself into the title equation at 170lbs. The flashy striker has mounted a solid resume of wins in recent times, including Jorge Masvidal and Vicente Luque. In order to close in on a third title opportunity, ‘Wonderboy‘ will need to pick up a decisive win over Burns this weekend.
Tai Tuivasa (12-3) vs Greg Hardy (7-3, 1 NC) – heavyweight bout
Hard-hitting heavyweights Tai Tuivasa and Greg Hardy will slug it out in Saturday night’s featured bout.
A fan favourite since his debut in the UFC, Oceania’s Tai Tuivasa has made a name for himself through his power. The 12-3 prospect has already racked up wins over the likes of Andrei Arlovski and Stefan Struve. With his sights set on a third straight win, don’t blink when ‘Bam Bam‘ arrives.
Though a polarising figure to many, Greg Hardy has attracted many fans into watching his fights inside the Octagon. Despite only 11 professional fights on his pro record, the former NFL player has showed a natural talent for MMA. This weekend, ‘The Prince of War‘ looks to get back to win column by showcasing his booming explosiveness.
(#3) Irene Aldana (12-6) vs (#6) Yana Kunitskaya (14-5, 1 NC) – bantamweight bout
Top-10 bantamweights Irene Aldana and Yana Kunitskaya will look to edge closer to the title picture this Saturday.
Although a 5 round shutout against Holly Holm may have stifled his momentum, Mexico’s Irene Aldana remains one of the brightest prospects in her division. A mix of speed and power has led her to wins over the likes of Ketlen Vieira. A win this weekend could place her firmly back in the title picture.
Debuting for the UFC in a world title fight, Yana Kunitskaya has fought nothing but the cream of the crop since 2018. The Russian contender has gone 4-1 in her last 5, with notable wins over Julija Stoliarenko and Ketlen Vieira. Another win to her current run of form could place Kunitskaya in another title opportunity.
Sean O’Malley (13-1) vs Kris Moutinho (9-4) – bantamweight bout
Looking to make a big impression in his debut, Kris Moutinho will take on rising star Sean O’Malley in the main card opener.
Having only dropped a loss to Marlon Vera in 2020, Sean O’Malley has gone virtually (or mentally) unscathed in the UFC. His brash personality and high-action fighting style has drawn in many fans for the Arizona native. ‘Suga‘ will now look for his 14th career win with another emphatic KO.
With all the odds stacked against him, Kris Moutinho is looking to make a fuss in his UFC debut. The New England native has picked up wins on the regional circuit, but now feels ready to take on higher levels of competition. Moutinho is hoping to pick up a third straight finish over the megastar O’Malley this weekend.
Carlos Condit (32-13) vs Max Griffin (17-8) – welterweight bout
A pair of all-action veterans in Carlos Condit and Max Griffin will face off in the featured prelim this weekend.
Former interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit doesn’t know what a boring fight is. The JacksonWink fighter is known for his unique striking techniques and high-volume style. A showcase on Fight Island against Matt Brown brings ‘NBK‘ into this matchup on the right track.
With power in his hands and hoping to add another W to his resume, Max Griffin is hoping for a finish this weekend. The former TPF champion has 11 stoppages in 17 wins, and is riding two straight wins. A win over a veteran like Condit could put ‘Pain‘ in place for another high-profile name.
Niko Price (14-4, 1 NC) vs Michel Pereira (25-11, 2 NC) – welterweight bout
All-out brawler Niko Price will take on flashy striking sensation Michel Pereira in a fight set to be one of the best of the year.
Quickly establishing himself as an action fighter, Niko Price has caught the eye of many fans since his debut. His KO power and explosive style mean he is always down to slug it out. For examples, look to his fights with Vicente Luque, Geoff Neal, Donald Cerrone and Tim Means. Expect the best of Price this weekend.
Much like his counterpart Price, Michel Pereira has a large following due to his fighting ability. The 6’1″ Brazilian is known for his unorthodox striking and physicality inside the ring. With a more refined – but equally effective – style in his last pair of outings, the most improved version of Pereira may be on display on Saturday.
Ryan Hall (8-1) vs Ilia Topuria (10-0) – featherweight bout
Two highly-touted featherweight prospects will look to advance up the ranks when Ryan Hall fights Ilia Topuria.
Though inactivity has plagued his career since 2015, Ryan Hall remains one of the most popular prospects at 145lbs. The BJJ ace is known for his killer leg-locks, but has shown much-improved striking also. With a well-rounded arsenal of attacks, a win could propel Hall into a big matchup later this year.
With the Georgian MMA invasion well underway, Ilia Topuria is hoping to break the top 15 at featherweight. His crisp boxing skills have made him a force to be reckoned with, and he’s expected to have them on full display again this weekend. This could be the name on his record to throw Topuria into the shark tank at 145lbs.
How do I watch UFC 264: Poirier vs McGregor 3?
In case you don’t know where to get the fights, VMTV have to covered!
If you’re in the US, you can purchase the card through ESPN+! The main card will start at 10pm on the East Coast, 7pm on the West Coast, with prelims at 6.15pm and 3.15pm.
If you’re in the UK/Ireland, you can purchase the card through BT Sport Box Office! The main card will start at 3am, with early prelims from 11.15pm.
Are you excited for this card? Which fight is the sleeper of the “sleeper” of the card? Let us know in the comments section below!
Frans Mlambo Out, Arturo Vergara In For May 29 Combate Global Event
Frans Mlambo, the number one contender in Combate Global’s bantamweight division, will be replaced by hard-hitting Arturo Vergara (2-0 MMA; 3-1 Kickboxing) of Los Andes, Chile via Miami. Vergara will challenge Martinez of Mexico City, Mexico in a bantamweight non-title bout.
Combate Global today announced a new main event for its show on Sunday, May 29 in Miami, Fla., due to an abdominal injury sustained by Ireland’s Frans “The Zulu Irishman” Mlambo (13-5), who had been scheduled to challenge reigning Combate Global World Bantamweight (135 pounds) Champion David “The Black Spartan” Martinez (6-1) for Martinez’s title.
Combate Global will announce television programming details as well as the complete fight card for the event on Tuesday, May 24.
“We wish Frans a full and speedy recovery,” said Combate Global CEO Campbell McLaren, “and are excited to debut Chile’s Arturo Vergara, who is coming off an incredible, nine-second knockout! I have a lot of respect for Arturo stepping up because David Martinez is as tough an opponent as they come.”
Unbeaten to date under MMA rules, Vergara produced a stunning, nine-second knockout via a flying knee strike of Cody Schieve on May 6. The speedy win followed another first round (2:21) TKO (strikes) that Vergara notched in his MMA rules debut against Steven Orozco on February 19.
Prior to his first MMA start, Vergara had competed exclusively under kickboxing rules, amassing over 80 bouts as an amateur, and a 3-1 record as a professional. The 23-year-old Martinez of Mexico City will enter La Jaula, the Combate Global competition cage, for the first time since he was crowned world champion one year ago, on May 29, 2021.
A member of Team Bonebreakers, Martinez defeated three consecutive opponents – including championship round adversary Francisco “Cisco” Rivera, Jr. via second round (0:17) TKO (head kick and punches) – in one night, to become world champion.
UFC London | 5 Fighters Who Have To Be On The Card
Immediately after UFC London earlier in the year, the ball started rolling towards a second UK event in 2022 after Dana White made it clear he wanted to come back soon. Whilst the year’s first event at the O2 Arena delivered one of the best non-PPV events in recent history, there’s still more ground to cover. Aspinall vs Volkov was stacked with home fighters but there are still a handful that missed out on fighting in front of the UK.
Here are five UK fighters that deserve a chance to fight at the O2 Arena after missing out the first time. Not that we’re complaining if the likes of Paddy Pimblett and Jai Herbert show up on this card also.
5. Dom Wooding
Yes it is true, we will never stop banging this drum. After defending his Cage Warriors bantamweight title in December of last year, we had our fingers crossed that London would come around in time for Dom Wooding. The ‘Black Panther’ didn’t get the call up on that occasion but absence has only made the heart grow fonder. This is the time for Dom Wooding to fight in the UFC and if you don’t believe us, maybe ‘The Last Stylebender’ can change your mind.
4. Mason Jones
Mason ‘The Dragon’ Jones has had quite a stop and start UFC career since joining the promotion as a double champion in Cage Warriors. The Welshman is 1-1-1 in the UFC so far and would have picked up some decent momentum if his fight with Alan Patrick hadn’t been stopped due to an accidental eye poke in a fight he was winning comfortably. A win over late notice replacement David Onama, who recently picked up a first UFC win of his own, has got Jones back on the right path after a tough introduction to the UFC against Mike Davis. Jones always delivers great fights due to his high pressure and output style and a win in London could be exactly the kind of moment he needs to really put the past behind him and push on in the UFC.
3. Lerone Murphy
For the vast majority of UK fight fans, Lerone Murphy came out of nowhere when he debuted in the UFC. Now on a 3-fight win streak after his debut resulted in a draw at UFC 242, Murphy has been putting on increasingly impressive performances every time he has stepped foot in the Octagon. Still yet to fight in front of UK fans, ‘The Miracle’ will have a huge fight on his hands in his next outing as he looks to step foot in the rankings of the stacked featherweight division.
2. Davey Grant
Davey Grant has really made a name for himself in recent times as a must watch fighter who will steal a main card. After chaining back-to-back finishes, Grant may have lost two of his last three fights but his stock in the UFC has risen massively. His fights with Marlon Vera and Adrian Yanez put Grant on the map when it comes to value for money fighters. Now back in the win column after his 3rd round finish over Louis Smolka at the weekend, Grant said in his post fight interview about making a quick turn around and potentially fighting in London. We know we are asking for a lot with the card already being incredibly busy but Davey Grant opening the main card with a barnburner is sure to blow the roof off of the O2 just like the last time the UFC came calling.
1. Nathaniel Wood
Luck has not been on Nathaniel Wood’s side as of late. Three cancelled fights in a row meant he missed out on the first London card even after he was found a replacement opponent. An illness forced Vince Morales out of their bout which seemed to be opening the event and setting the tone for the evening with the return of ‘The Prospect’ in front of his people. After going 4-2 as a bantamweight in the UFC but losing to two top fighters in John Dodson and Casey Kenney, Wood has announced he is moving up a weight class since his fight in London fell off. Nathaniel Wood deserves this chance to fight in London after losing out at such short notice last time around and we can’t wait to see how he stacks up amongst the rest of the 145 pound division.
Fight To Watch | Muhammad Mokaev vs Charles Johnson
Fights are being booked fast and furiously for July 23rd as the UFC’s anticipated return to London approaches. With fireworks expected throughout the whole event, MMAPlay365 and VMTV have scoured through the card and selected Muhammad Mokaev vs Charles Johnson as our ‘Fight To Watch’ on the night.
Muhammad Mokaev returns to the octagon following a successful debut back at UFC London in March against Cody Durden. ‘The Punisher’ made light work of his American counter-part, submitting him in the first round via guillotine choke with very little problems. His upcoming opponent, Charles Johnson, signs with the UFC after an impressive four-fight winning streak on LFA, which saw him capture and defend flyweight gold.
His ability to mix it up on the feet and in grappling scenarios make this a much more dangerous bout for Mokaev stylistically, but it’s still nothing the 21 year old won’t be able to handle in the eyes of MMAPlay365 CEO, Adam Newsome:
“At this stage of Muhammad Mokaev’s UFC career every fight is going to be a test. And just because you haven’t heard of Charles Johnson doesn’t mean he isn’t a good fighter. Johnson was the Flyweight Champion in LFA. If you aren’t familiar with LFA it’s basically the American equivalent of Cage Warriors. You are battle tested in LFA and if you become a Champion the chances are the UFC are going to sign you.
So this is a very interesting match-up but still right now I don’t think that Mokaev gets tested enough to the point he loses. This is going to be another fight I see him doing extremely well in and I don’t see Mokaev losing a fight until he hits the top 20 of the division. But even when that time comes, he is going to have improved and developed so much that he could run through that pool of fighters at that time. If a fighter is going to beat Mokaev outside the best fighters in the division then now is the time to do it whilst he’s still developing. But even though he’s still developing he’s still a problem. I’m not sure Mokaev finds another finish here so I am predicting a dominant three round decision victory for Muhammad Mokaev.”
Cauley Quilty, Editor for VMTV, had this to say on the fight: “Muhammad Mokaev is always a treat to watch in action and his UFC debut back in March was nothing short of spectacular! He came to make a statement and did exactly that getting the first round finish and I see him doing the same thing when he steps back out there against Charles Johnson. His extensive amateur career and impressive run of professional performances make it almost impossible to not side with Mokaev in this bout, especially with the way he defeated Durden on his debut.
However, Charles Johnson isn’t an opponent anyone should underestimate as his resume and recent performances speak for themselves! His fight vs Carlos ‘Mota’ Tizil was a barnburner and with 8 of his 11 wins coming by way of finish you know he can get the job done when needed. Both fighters are highly touted and respected so expect the winner of this to receive a bump up in competition on their next outing.”
Who do you think leaves the ‘Fight To Watch’ with their hand raised? Be sure to let us know your predictions below!
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